Editors: Michael I. Goran, Luc Tappy, Kim-Anne Lê
Published by CRC Press. Taylor & Francis Group
eBook from £40
Sugar ingestion causes obesity – right? You either agree with this statement, or you do not. Or perhaps you are ambivalent, or unsure. Whatever your opinion – this book is for you!
Its succinct, extensively referenced chapters explore the evidence that supports both the argument, and the counter-argument for the obeseogenic and pathological effects of sugar (particularly fructose) ingestion. The conflicts of interest of the contributors to each chapter are clearly stated. Most chapters are of about 11 pages and offer a detailed, balanced, multi-faceted overview of the subject. But one cannot help being drawn to the conclusion that if either case were “proven” then the need for a book such as this would be obsolete. However much the reader will argue that their particular conviction is proven by the material in this book, the perspicacity of the arguments and counter-arguments offer tantalising ammunition to both camps. Which one is deemed to be under siege, and whether that siege has been lifted, will be for you to decide.
The areas covered are wide-ranging and ensure that the book is no dry debate but a fascinating tour of all aspects of dietary sugars and health. For example: the history of the social aspects of consumption and marketing, alongside the commodification of sweetness in a global market with regard to production and consumption. Which are themselves immersed in the difficulty of teasing out from socioeconomic strata the attraction of relatively low cost of energy rich food, fast food, lifestyle choices, and their relation to the obesity epidemic. The concomitant contribution of other dietary components such as fat and vitamins further confounds the paradigms in this data rich book.
The metabolic pathways of sucrose, fructose and glucose and the stimulation of triglyceride synthesis add extra piquancy to the consideration of the contrasting satiating effects of the sugars. The effects of sugars in the brain as well as genetic and epigenetic effects of sugars including gene–diet interactions are all illuminated. Liver physiology, lipogenesis, and atherogenic sequelae, along with nephropathology exclaim the sentient realisation that this subject is a serious one!
The book concludes by suggesting a plethora of topics that might form the basis for future research, which does attest to the current indecision about sugars being the sole cause of obesity and illhealth, and however strong the feeling on either side of the argument, there is agreement on the need for further research into this important subject.